Andy Cohen and Anderson Cooper tell PEOPLE the secret to their friendship, what fans can expect from CNN's New Year's Eve Live and who they'll be kissing at midnight

By Dave Quinn
December 29, 2017 03:35 PM
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Andy Cohen and Anderson Cooper have been friends for over 20 years — or 25 if you ask Cohen, who has no problem interrupting his longtime pal as the two sit down with PEOPLE to discuss their upcoming gig cohosting CNN’s New Years Eve Live 2018.

“I can’t get a word in edge-wise,” Cooper, 50, jabs back at Cohen.

“No, I can’t get a word in edge-wise!” Cohen, 49, shouts.

If it sounds like the two cable personalities are fighting, they’re not. These BFFs have developed a well-oiled act of silly and sophisticated fun throughout the years, one that they’ve taken on the road for the last three years on their live stage show AC²: An Intimate Evening with Anderson Cooper & Andy Cohen — Deep Talk and Shallow Tales. They tease each other, tell all about each other, and most importantly, trust each other.

Below, the Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen ringmaster and Anderson Cooper 360° anchor discuss the secret to their friendship, what fans can expect from their New Year’s Eve show, and who they’ll be kissing at midnight.

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Andy Cohen and Anderson Cooper
| Credit: Jeremy Freeman/CNN

Q: Anderson, you’ve hosted the show since 2002, but this is the first time Andy is joining you. What tips have you given Andy about the experience?
Cooper: Andy keeps talking about what he’s going to wear, which is the least of my concerns. I don’t think he understands how cold it is on New Years Eve. He keeps talking about getting a fitting for something to wear. I’m like, ‘You don’t need a fitting, you need arctic boots.’
Cohen: I know, but you haven’t sent me pictures of the boots. You keep saying you’re going to tell me exactly what boots to wear, so I’m just looking at, like, fun boots.
Cooper: If only there was a machine where you could type the words ‘arctic boots’ in and find out what arctic boots look like …

Q: You two have been traveling with AC² for 3 years now. Who has the most annoying travel habit?
Cooper: Oh I do, without a doubt.
Cohen: He’s very moody.
Cooper: Andy’s even-keeled and happy, pretty much wherever he is. And if he’s not happy, he will take out his phone and do an Instagram Story about being not happy, and the Instagram Story will be so funny that it makes everybody around him happy. We were stuck in the Dallas airport the other weekend—
Cohen: —You need a little gum.
Cooper: Oh Jesus! I just woke up.
Cohen: Well, we’re very close right now.
Cooper: Is that my problem?
Cohen: Look, he has Listerine.
Cooper: We were at the Dallas airport—
Cohen: —Oh you smell gorgeous!
Cooper: Oh shut up! You tell it.
Cohen: He was eating Panda Express at 9 a.m. in the airport. This is what I’m looking at? I’m having a bagel like a civilized human being, and he’s just scarfing down Chinese food. And, by the way, he was eating like an animal.
Cooper: I hadn’t had dinner! It was very good!

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Q: Who’s the better packer?
Cooper: I am because I travel so much and I travel light and I’m easy to travel. This is the difference between us: When I arrive, I’m in a baseball hat and I check in. When Andy checks in at the airport, it’s like the arrival of Queen Elizabeth.
Cohen: He says I’m like Dolly Levi coming back to the Harmonia Gardens.
Cooper: He arrives in like a velour pink track suit for maximum attention. He likes attention wherever he goes.
Cohen: No! They’re Adidas track suits, in an homage to Missy Misdemeanor Elliot.

Q: What makes your friendship work so well?
Cohen: I like making him laugh. Obviously, what we are broadcasting could not be more diametrically opposed. But there’s a commonality that we have in that we’re both live on TV at night. And I think that’s something we share that others don’t.
Cooper: There’s nothing better for me anyway than being on stage in front of a crowd of 3,000 people or whatnot and making people laugh. Just telling stories and being yourself—
Cohen: But this question is about us. He was asking about us.
Cooper: Well, I know but I was just saying…
Cohen: Oh, okay. You made it seem like it was about you.

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Anderson Cooper and Andy Cohen
| Credit: Michael Loccisano/Getty Images

Q: Have you ever not liked a guy the other is dating?
Cohen: No, I don’t think so.
Cooper: Well sweetie, with you there’s been so many.
Cohen: OH PLEASE.
Cooper: No, the guys he’s actually dated I’ve really liked.
Cohen: Anderson was very supportive of my last relationship.
Cooper: I was a big proponent of him.

Q: Whose DMs are slid into more?
Cohen: Mine. Anderson doesn’t check his DMs the way I do.
Cooper: I mean, I’m happy to check my DMs, but I didn’t know that was a thing.

Q: You both know each other’s parents, right?
Cohen: Yes.
Cooper: Andy just met my mom relatively recently. They’ve become email buddies. I think my mom enjoys emailing with him much more than she enjoys any sort of contact with me.

Q: I’m sorry, what are you emailing Gloria Vanderbilt about?
Cohen: Just checking in, saying, ‘I’m with your moody son, he seems good.’
Cooper: Andy had my mom on his show when her book came out, and that was actually the first time my mom had met him. She was completely entranced and would not stop speaking about him for quite a long time.
Cohen: My parents love him.
Cooper: I follow his mom on Instagram.
Cohen: Yes, she’s very happy about that.

For more on Cohen and Cooper, pick up this week’s issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands now.

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Q: Do your parents always wonder why you two are not dating? I know you had met after being set up on a blind date that didn’t work out…
Cohen: I think at this point, they’ve reconciled that that is not happening.
Cooper: It’s funny. We’ll say, ‘Oh we booked the Wang Theatre in Boston and it’s 2,500 seats or something.’ And she’ll say, ‘Oh my God, I don’t know if you can fill that.’
Cohen: Yes, she’s very pragmatic with us. Almost sometimes a downer.

Q: What can fans expect from you guys on New Year Eve?
Cooper: Andy is who is he and he’s kind of the life of the party wherever he goes. And I think it’s going to reflect our friendship and the comfort we have with each other and the dynamic of our relationship. We’re as curious to see where it goes and what happens! We’re both eager and excited about it.

Q: Have you determined who you are both kissing at midnight?
Cohen: Oh good question — who stocks that pool for me?
Cooper: I’ll have to import somebody, ’cause it ain’t gonna be me!

CNN’s New Years Eve Live 2018 airs Dec. 31 (8 p.m. ET) on CNN.